Top Digital Health Leaders Offer Predictions for 2016

This year was tremendous for the digital health marketplace and healthcare. The explosion of new health apps and wearables has given Americans the tools to take charge of their own health.

In fact, when we look back on 2015, one of the trends that stands out is the increased emphasis on the consumerization of healthcare. By Rock Health’s estimates, the digital health revolution has already surpassed many investors and forecasters’ expectations.

In 2015, there were 180 M&A deals for digital health companies and more than $4.3 billion in funding was raised by the sector, according to Rock Health’s report.

With such a significant year behind us, what can we expect from digital health in 2016? To gain insights into the future of the digital health marketplace and healthcare, we asked some of the top leaders in the space to share their predictions for 2016 and beyond. Here’s what they said:

 

Evan Richardson, Senior VP, Product and Platform, Grand Rounds

“As we face a new year, the biggest problem in our healthcare system is the gap in access to the best quality medical care, not just the most cost-effective, when you need it most. Events of years past, such as 2014’s release of CMS data and 2015’s looming Cadillac tax, shined the spotlight on healthcare costs but left the conversation on healthcare quality relatively unaddressed. 2016 will be the year that data and technology will really start to chip away at this problem, bridge the gap between cost and quality, and reshape how we view and measure quality. Ultimately, improving patient outcomes while keeping costs down.”

Seaju Jong, CEO Noom

“It’s no secret that our unhealthy habits are leading to an unprecedented rise in chronic diseases, like diabetes and hypertension. However, the emergence of technology-backed human coaching offers enormous promise in the fight against obesity and lifestyle-induced chronic disease. Through mobile monitoring, big data, and AI, the millions of choices and behavior cues made by individuals can be harnessed to develop better behavior change interventions. We can use this data to understand the patterns of human behavior and surface these insights to coaches who can intervene at just the moment to create the greatest possible impact across large populations.”

 

Peter Hames, CEO, Sleepio

“2016 will be the year that digital therapeutics grow up — controlled clinical evidence will become a need-to-have, not a nice-to-have. Much as with pharmaceutical medicine, digital medicine needs to prove it works to stand the test of time. Recent scandals have brought this issue to the fore and soon payers will demand Level 1, peer-reviewed evidence before agreeing to pay for any therapeutic solution. This is for good reason. We owe it to our users to only offer products that are proven to work, not just piggy-back on previous research, and we can only build the new sector of digital therapeutics on solid foundations of evidence.”

Joanna Strober, CEO, Kurbo Health

“One of the biggest trends for 2016 is that employers will begin to adopt wellness programs that engage the whole family, instead of just employees. Many employers have developed a keen understanding that the family dynamic has a huge influence on the productivity and overall well-being of the employee. Innovative digital health/wellness programs benefiting the entire family will be able to help employees and dependents develop healthy habits and sustainable behavior change by leveraging the intrinsic motivation of helping build healthy life skills for their children. These types of programs will soon become must-haves for organizations that are looking to create a lasting, vibrant culture of well-being.”

One thing is clear: The digital health revolution will not lose momentum in 2016. As the market grows and matures, digital health tools will become increasingly necessary in employer healthcare benefits.

Jiff is proud that 2015 was a year of strong growth and we’re grateful for our new team members, customers, and partners. We look forward to continuing to help employers reduce healthcare costs and improve employee health by giving them the one tool that can deliver the right health benefits at the right time  —  our enterprise health benefits platform.